|Hong Kong, population 7.3 million, is a city of energy! It is international – a city of East and West blending together. However, do not be mistaken, Hong Kong is truly a Chinese city with ninety six percent of the population ethnic Chinese, two percent Filipino, Indonesian, Indians, Pakistanis and Nepalese, and the other two percent is everyone else.
Hong Kong’s official languages are English and Chinese. Cantonese is most commonly spoken; however, Mandarin (known as Putonghua in Hong Kong), the official language of China, is also widely spoken.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) is fantastic. There is a wealth of free, excellent information for travelers. You may visit HKTB’s homepage at www.discoverhongkong.com. One of your first stops at the Hong Kong International Airport (www.hkairport.com) should be the tourist information center (open from 7:00 to 23:00). The main HKTA office is located in the Central District at 99 Queen’s Road Central – about a 10-minute walk west of Star Ferry pier and Central MTR station. In Hong Kong, you may call the HKTB Visitor Hotline (852 – 2508 1234).
A valid passport is the only document most attendees will need to enter Hong Kong. Keep your passport in a inconspicuous, safe place, and carry your passport with you. If you lose your passport, immediately contact the nearest embassy or consulate and the local police. If you plan for a trip to mainland China, you’ll need a visa. Visa’s can be obtained in Hong Kong –(one photo and 3 working days). Travel Service issues China visas for HK$150 or HK$300 to process within 24 hours. Citizens of most countries may visit Macau without a visa.
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|Hong Kong is a subtropical location. Summer (June to August) is hot, humid and sunny, with occasional showers and thunderstorms. August has the highest average rainfall of any month. Temperatures usually exceed 30°C during the day, which, coupled with a high humidity, can result in an extreme heat index. Nights are also warm with an average minimum temperature of 26°C. Hong Kong is frequently hit by typhoons in summer.
|GETTING INTO TOWN|
|Airport Express: This is the quickest and most efficient way to get to downtown Hong Kong. After you pass customs and enter the hall, this station is straight ahead. The trains run every 10 minutes and take about 20 minutes to reach Kowloon Station. One-way fare to or from Hong Kong Station (Central) is HK$100; and to or from Kowloon Station, HK$90. Round trip tickets (valid for one month) cost HK$180 for Central and HK$160 for Kowloon. (Enquiry: 852-28818888) < www.mtr.com.hk>
Bus: This is a convenient and comfortable way to access to major locations in Hong Kong and Kowloon. The buses on the following five routes run at frequent intervals and the fares are competitive. For further details of the transport to/from the airport, please visit http://www.hongkongairport.com/eng/transport/to-from-airport/bus_from_hkia.html
Taxis: They can take you to anywhere from the airport. But you need to get the red taxi when going from the airport to urban areas. For a red taxi, the minimum fare is HK$22 for the first 2 kilometers. Additional fare of HK$1.60 is chargeable for every 200 meters thereafter, and the same is charged for waiting time per minute. After the chargeable amount has reached $78, the charge for every subsequent 200 metres or part thereof is HK$1.00. Taxis also charge HK$5.00 per piece of baggage. Taxi passengers using the Lantau Link are required to pay an additional toll fare of HK$30, and additional fares are also charged for using toll tunnels. It takes about 30 minutes to go to The Hong Kong Polytechnic University from the airport. The approximate fare is HK$235.
For further details of the transport to/from the airport, please visit http://www.hongkongairport.com/eng/transport/to-from-airport/taxi.html
|The Hong Kong dollar ($) and the cent are the units of currency. The dollar is divided into 100 cents. Bills come in denominations of 1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20, and 10 dollars. Coins are 10, 5, 2, and 1 dollar and 50, 20, and 10 cents. Bank notes are issued by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, the Bank of China, or the Standard Chartered Bank.
Credit cards taken are usually American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard, and Visa.
There are many automatic teller machines throughout Hong Kong, and they are reliable and safe. They offer a wide range of services. To draw money from a Hong Kong ATM with either a credit or a debit card, you must have a four-digit personal identification number – be sure you have that before traveling to Hong Kong. Exchange places charge a fee (inquire as to the amount) for changing money and cashing traveller’s cheques.
You can exchange currency at the airport, hotels, banks, and with private money changers. However, banks will probably provide you with the best rates. (You may want to get a bit of local currency before you leave your home to avoid lines at airport exchange booths.)
|To check whether you need a visa to visit Hong Kong or not, please visit http://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/services/visas/visit-transit/visit-visa-entry-permit.html|